Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) has commenced an orientation for blind candidates in Lagos on the use of its newly acquired Braillenote Apex Computers for its 2015 examinations in March.
It will be recalled that the board recently took delivery of the computers to assist the visually impaired to participate easily in its 2015 All Computer Based (CBT) mode of the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME).
The Registrar of the board, Prof. Dibu Ojerinde , had explained that the Braillenote Apex enabled the visually impaired to read and answer questions via voice or Braille.
The development, he said, would make this year’s UTME all inclusive for all categories of candidates.
A Deputy Director in JAMB, Alhaji Kamaldeen Oladeji, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that 10 of the computers had been deployed for the orientation at the Bethesda Home for the Blind.
Bethsida Home for the Blind has the greatest number of blind candidates for the examination, hence, its choice for the orientation in the state.
Oladeji noted that the board had carried out the same exercise in Abeoukuta in Ogun, Gindiri in Plateau and Oji River in Enugu, adding that the board would move to other centres with time.
According to him, about 180 blind candidates are expected to write the examination.
He added that as at last week, a total of 177 blind candidates had registered fully for the examinations nationwide.
“We have acquired enough computers for these special candidates because of our migration from all other modes to the CBT.”
“We are here to test run these computers and get the students acquainted with the mode of operation of the special computers.
“During the examination proper, we are going to deploy these computers to the various centres and we could possibly allow extra hours for the examination because of their peculiarity,’’ he said.
He pleaded with corporate bodies and philanthropists to key into the success so far attained by the board by acquiring more of these special Brailles for schools for the visually impaired.
Oladeji noted that it would go a long way in assisting those with such challenges to attain their life’s desire, adding that there was no going back on the CBT mode of the UTME.
Also speaking with NAN, the Director of the home, Mrs Chioma Ohakwe, told NAN that the gesture by JAMB was commendable, adding that it had brought relief to both the staff and students.
“I want to seize this opportunity to appreciate JAMB for this wonderful gesture. I am indeed overwhelmed with joy.”
“I feel very relieved because before now, it had remained a huge burden. It is a thing of joy to see that these candidates are remembered this way.”
“It has also shown JAMB’s determination to indeed carry everybody along.”
“I know that with these machines in place, the students will give their best which will reflect on their performance and there will be no room for excuses,” Ohakwe said.
She appealed to members of the society to support the home with more computers for their daily tutorials.
One of the students of the home, Dabiri Samuel, who is among the candidates that will sit for the CBT, also lauded the Dibu Ojerinde-led board for the gesture.
He said it had brought relief for him and his colleagues as the machines would reduce to the barest minimum their challenges, including missing lines which others ahead of them faced during examinations.
Samuel, however, said it would have been more interesting and helpful if the Brailles had arrived a little earlier than now to ensure they mastered its use.
“I also want to appeal with all those concerned to assist us with as many of these Brailles as possible for keeps in various schools nationwide.”
“If all the visually impaired students could have one to himself at school, it will go a long way to improve our performance during examinations and other tasks,” he said.